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Establishing Believers in the Christian Faith

from the book Why I Love God

18. The Eternal Life yet to Come

God appointed me to inherit eternal life. Eternal life has both a present and future sense. In scripture there are two definitions of eternal life, and these definitions can overlap. Sometimes eternal life refers to the indwelling life of God’s Holy Spirit. When spoken of this way, eternal life is a present reality and the basis of inner transformation. But eternal life can also refer to the never-ending, glorious, peaceful, joyful life on a new earth where Christ reigns as King. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God whom this world rejected and crucified, was raised from the dead by God the Father. And that same Jesus Christ will one day return to judge this present evil world and usher in an eternal kingdom that will have no end. Living in that eternal kingdom in relationship with God through Jesus Christ is something yet future that has not been realized, but it can also be thought of as eternal life. There are several aspects of this future, eternal kingdom in that new world.

In the new earth I will live forever with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will see Him face to face and eye to eye. I will see the nail prints in His hands. I will be able to touch Him, embrace Him, and worship Him. In this world, in this life, I know He has been raised from the dead and is alive now. But I know this by faith without any feedback from my physical senses of sight, sound and touch. In eternity, however, I will know Him in an entirely new way. I will literally see the Son of God with my new eyes, audibly hear his voice with my new ears, and touch him with my new hands.

In the new earth I will live eternally in a spectacular, awe-inspiring environment. I greatly enjoy God’s creation even now in this fallen world. The stars, clouds, mountains, waterfalls, streams, and forests, along with the variety of animal and plant life — they all inspire awe and wonder by revealing the power, creativity and wisdom of God. But at the same time this present creation is marred with decay and destruction, and it groans to be born anew and restored. But this will not be the case in the new creation. The new earth will be pristine, impeccable, pure, unspoiled, and more glorious than anything I can even imagine.

In the new earth I will have a new body that knows no corruption. If the Lord tarries and I pass away, I will be present with Him until the time I am bodily raised from the dead. And if I live to see the second coming of Jesus Christ when He descends from heaven, He will call me to meet Him in the air. Either way, whether through being raised from the dead or being transformed in the twinkling of an eye at His coming, I will have a new body built for eternity. And the difference between my old body which had died and my new body will be same difference between a seed put in the ground and the glorious flower that comes from that seed. There is a connection between the seed and the flower, but the latter is exceedingly more glorious than the former.

In the new earth I will live eternally with all of God’s people. All of God’s family will be present; everyone from the beginning of creation whom He has redeemed. Everyone I have read about in the Old and New Testaments, as well as all God’s children over centuries past I do not even know. There I will also be with precious brothers and sisters in Christ whom I have known in this world but who have fallen asleep and are now present with Christ. We will all talk with each other, sing, and worship together.

In the new earth we will all live together in harmony and peace. There will be perfect righteousness. Instead of crime, temptation, and evil, there will be love, kindness, and goodness. There will be no more suffering and death, but only peace and joy. There will be no such thing as boredom, for every single day will be filled with awe and wonder.

from the book Why I Love God

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